September 19 2014 Latest news:
by Sam Blewett, Reporter
Friday, August 15, 2014
A drugs minister and a parent charity have slammed claims by a controversial Havering councillor that easing drug laws would see people become users to get help – just like single mothers with social housing.
Cllr Jeff Tucker, who claims “controversial” is his middle name, wrote to a Liberal Democrat MP this week to show his disgust at the party’s proposal to stop sending people to prison for carrying drugs.
Cllr Tucker, leader of the Independent Residents’ Group, wrote that the policy sends out the wrong message and when people want “help” they could take drugs as a way to obtain it.
“Whose idea was it to reward single mums with council properties? What did that create? More single mums with babies,” he continued.
Chief executive of single-parent charity Gingerbread, Fiona Weir, firmly disagreed with Cllr Jeff “controversial” Tucker.
“The notion of women becoming pregnant to get social housing is utter nonsense,” she said.
“It’s concerning that a local councillor would have such poor understanding of housing and of families today.
“Old, damaging stereotypes such as this should play no part in modern politics.”
Drugs minister Norman Baker MP, who grew up in Hornchurch, said that Cllr Tucker is “ill-informed” and that he needs to look at the evidence.
“He should spend more time on what’s actually happening on the ground rather than being prejudiced by page 50 of The Sun,” he said.
Cllr Tucker elaborated on his views to the Recorder. “People would deliberately take drugs because they need help for one reason or another,” he said before reiterating the single mums comparison.
“I believe that people get pregnant deliberately to enable them council property.
“It’s the system forcing people to go outside the box and do wrong.
“This is controversial – that’s my middle name.”
A spokesman for drugs charity Addaction, Alistair Bohm, also refuted Cllr Tucker’s claims.
He said: “Addiction wrecks lives, relationships and families indiscriminately. No one chooses to end up in that position.”